- Speedy adoption to ensure timely help in response to war
- Resources to deal with migration and mitigate delay in investments
- Additional pre-financing of €3.5 billion in 2022 and 2023
EU countries and regions will receive extra support to alleviate the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine, following a green light by MEPs on Tuesday.
The new legislation simplifies the rules for member states using cohesion policy funds to address the migratory and investment challenges caused by the Russian aggression in Ukraine. It was approved with 592 votes, against 12 and 10 abstentions.
The EP’s Regional Development Committee fast-tracked the European Commission’s FAST-CARE (Flexible Assistance for Territories) proposal and referred it to the plenary without amendments, in order to speed up its approval. Plenary endorsed the text without changes. MEPs’ main concern is to make sure the aid is accessible to EU regions and member states as soon as possible.
Following the vote, EP rapporteur Niklas Nienaß (Greens/EFA, DE) said: “In the face of Russian aggression, Europe has to respond fast and determinedly. With FAST-CARE, cohesion policy will help Ukrainian refugees and allow European cities, municipalities, and the EU economy to mitigate the direct and indirect consequences of this terrible war. Simultaneously, MEPs ensured that the emergency package will not come at the expense of long-term investments. Cohesion policy brings Europe closer together. Solidarity across the regions and with our neighbours makes us stronger.”
The legislation simplifies the rules for the use of cohesion resources in two areas: migration help, and assistance to cohesion investments threatened by high energy costs and a shortage of raw materials and labour force. It provides for additional pre-financing of €3.5 billion in 2022 and 2023. It also allows for 100% EU financing for projects promoting the socio-economic integration of third country nationals and removes the location requirement for refugees. Furthermore, to ensure help reaches local communities, at least 30% of the project amount must be granted to local authorities or local community organisations.
The proposal will now have to be formally approved by the Council before entering into force on the day following its publication in the EU Official Journal.